School Board approves grant conditions

The Douglas County School District Offices are located in the historic Minden school house on Mono Avenue.

The Douglas County School District Offices are located in the historic Minden school house on Mono Avenue.

School Board approves grant resolution

By Sarah Drinkwine

A resolution setting a variety of conditions on grants approved 4-3 by the Douglas County School Board shouldn’t endanger the around $10 million the district receives.

School Board President Susan Jansen suggested an agenda item at a previous meeting which stated that the district could apply for grants as long as the terms do not require specific conditions of critical race theory.

“Jansen came with an idea, it was written down and agendized under my discretion that the terms would be discussed,” said School Superintendent Keith Lewis. “I think the board made it clear that they had some concerns on conditions.”

The discussion regarding grant funding for the calendar year 2023 stated that the board would discuss the terms under which the district could apply for grants. Those terms were not publicized until the meeting had already started.

“Any decision that you make as a board that is agendized … has to be noticed to the public,” one member of the public said. “The point of the open meeting law is that the people know the decisions that you’re making. It needs to be clear, and it needs to be public. This does not comport with that.”

The school district currently has $10.28 million in grants, each of which includes a variety of provisions, including following federal law on same-sex marriage, requiring campuses ban smoking, that grants not fund inherent religious activity, among other things.

The resolution approved prohibits the district from applying for grants dealing with any aspect of critical race theory, including intersectionality, equality, or requires using nontraditional pronouns or genders.

The final motion left out the line “This policy by no means can be construed to knowingly discriminate against any person or group based on the 14thamendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

During public comment, Erin Miller who lives at Lake Tahoe, has three students between the two schools, is a member of the lake’s parents’ groups and has helped apply for grants, stated she had never seen stipulations based on gender, race, or discretion when applying for grants.

“It was always based on what we want to use the grant for,” she said, “for instance, to improve a reading program, implant a compost program and add something to better our school, but I have never seen a stipulation based on any kind of race or gender or exclusion of that.”

In addition, district staff would develop a grant application policy which would align with the conditions set forth and would not be constructed as to be construed to knowingly discriminate against any person or group based on the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“We can’t be bringing in money to help kids, if we’re bringing in things that doesn’t help kids,” said Trustee Katherine Dickerson. “It doesn’t make any sense, so what we are doing is saying let’s not take money that is going to suggest that we do something that is not in the best interest of kids. We’re not talking about what is going on in the world with adults, this is K-12, we’re talking about education here. So, to say we want these conditions is not unreasonable.”

Lewis said it was clear that all seven board members agree that DCSD must have the ability to apply for grant funding, but the disagreement was centered on whether or not the approved conditions were necessary.

“I do not know of any time Douglas County School District has been offered an opportunity to apply for grant fundings that required any of the prohibited conditions, so I don’t anticipate these conditions will have any impact on how we do business in our grant office,” he said. “We will move forward with applying for grants that help Douglas County School District, while ensuring we adhere to the Board’s decision.”


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